I Met Her in Venezuela

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"I met
her in Venezuela with a basket on her head.
And if she knew others, she would not say,
but I knew she’s due to pass away,
to pass away the time in Venezuela."

goes the words of an old folk song made popular by the late Burl
Ives. Which leads one to ask, "How are they passing the time
in Venezuela these days, and with whose money?"

now know the answer to that question. The National Endowment for
Democracy has spent to date, as far as we know, $877,000 on a variety
of activities in Venezuela that increased as the situation deteriorated,
including a $154,377 grant to the American Center for International
Labor Solidarity, the international arm of the A.F.L.-C.I.O. to
assist the main Venezuelan labor union, the Confederation of Venezuelan
Workers, in trying to overthrow Hugo Chavez, the elected president.
So much for democracy.

is not news. If anyone has bothered to read Ted Morgan’s biography
of Jay Lovestone, A
Covert Life
, they would know that Lovestone, for years the
head of the A.F.L.-C.I.O.’s international division, was a CIA operative
working under James Angelton, who was his case officer. Now, this
stuff is done under the auspices of the National Endowment for Democracy.

that’s not the worst part. The endowment also provided significant
resources, according to The New York Times, " to the
foreign policy wings of the Republican and Democratic parties for
work in Venezuela, which sponsored trips to Washington by Chavez
critics." $210,500 went to the National Democratic Institute
for International Affairs to "promote the accountability of
local government." The International Republican Institute,
which actually has an office in Venezuela, got $449,998 for "political
party building."

April 12, the day of the non-coup, this bunch applauded Chavez’
ouster, proclaiming "The Venezuelan people rose up to defend
democracy in their country." The institute’s president, George
A. Folsom (a great Venezuelan hero) stated: "Venezuelans were
provoked into action as a result of systematic repression by the
government of Hugo Chavez." What a joke!

does this so-called National Endowment for Democracy get its money?
From the human rights division of the United States Department of
State, for one thing, which has just pledged a grant of $1 million
to the Endowment. But stop there. That’s not the State Department’s
money. It is OUR money. Did anyone ask us, the taxpayers, if we
cared to fork over a ton of money to the Democrat and Republican
parties so a pack of hacks could spend it to overthrow an elected
president? Of course not. That’s because this government assumes
we work for it, and not the other way around.

audacity of these scheme boils down to two corrupt political parties
voting themselves our money through the State Department budget
and then spending it on staff in Venezuela, where they screw around,
drink Venezuelan rum and hang out with that girl with the basket
on her head, the metaphor for those in Venezuela who will do out
bidding as long as we pay for it. Those Venezuelans who take the
money are the whores and the Democrats and Republicans who fork
out our money are the johns.

annual budget of the Endowment if $33 million. It supports actions
abroad where U.S. government direct involvement might be "cumbersome
or unwelcome." But to say this is private is absurd. It runs
on federal money, only with no accountability. This is an agency
that overreached in Chile in 1988 and in Nicaragua in 1989, when,
according to The Times, "endowment funds were used to sway
the outcomes of elections." So why is this any different from
what the CIA did and still does? So no one can say it’s the CIA?
Nonsense. If you think the CIA does not influence the direction
of the Endowment, you believe in the tooth fairy. Barbara Conry
of the libertarian CATO Institute put it best: "You ended up
with the worst of both worlds. Everybody knew it was directly funded
by Washington. That didn’t fool too many people. But it wasn’t really

again, we have a congress and a federal bureaucracy tossing around
our money so some jerks can play at being power brokers around the
world. The National Endowment for Democracy is a hoax. Now everyone
in Latin America knows we were up to our ears n trying to get rid
of Chavez. The whole thing backfired. The politicians walk away
and we pick up the bill. Some democracy. But what I really want
to know is, is there a Ritz in Caracas, so the hacks on the gravy
train can meet to overturn a democratically elected government at
our expense? And this stuff happens because we let it happen. If
we choose to be a nation of sheep, we have only ourselves to blame.

27, 2002

Cummings [send
him mail
] served with the office of General Counsel of
USAID Near East South Asia region, as the lawyer for the AID program
in Israel, Jordan, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, and is a member of
the Association of Former Intelligence Officers, having served on
the Board of the AFIO-New England chapter. He is the author of
Pied Piper-Allard K. Lowenstein and the Liberal Dream
ed., InPrint. Com 2000) and Proposition 14-A Secessionist

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